Sunday, June 20, 2010

Aiding and Abetting Fake outrage

When my friend sent me this article on sexual abuse in Lagos, my two-word emailed response was "Na today?"

“The truth is that the whole thing has made me begin to distrust anybody that is not a close friend or relative around my daughters,” said Ifeoma Akanwa, a banker and mother of three. “I used to have a house boy, and since he left last year, I have been reluctant to get another help, despite that my youngest child is just a year old. I prefer taking her to a crèche, or even locking her up with my eldest child (aged 10) at home at times.” Uwadiegwu Otisi, a sociologist holds the opinion that this portends a dangerous trend, and might fracture the fabrics of Africa’s familial culture if left unchecked.

I find that I say this a lot, but to reiterate, can we stop acting surprised when certain things happen? I know I heard so many stories like these from the weekly Yoruba show Feyikogbon to NTA news. This isht is not news. Stop acting like it is and do something about it. Sensitization exercises. Organize hotlines with Starcomms or MTN, so young girls can text you free and you can call them free of charge. Ads in the paper. Talk in schools. Something.


  1. I hear you ooo. Something, anything. Just went through a peer ed seminar today in which one of the topics brought up by students was the since-my-mother-was-five issue of sexual harassment by university professors. One after the other, woman, man, gave one story or the other about how so-and-so lecturer exchanges grades for sex. The leader of the seminar gave the same solutions of "women dress decently" and "get perfect marks on all your papers so that won't have to deal with the lecturer." Fortunately, one young man asked, what the school administration was doing to combat the problem. Until there is some means by which people can confidentially complain about serial abusers and expect to see a definite result, I predict that next year, a new set of students will spend another hour plus beating a dead horse.

  2. That "Women dress decently" canard makes me see red. It's so irritating when they blame the victim to hide the fact that they feel helpless to solve the situation, then we can start asking the right questions on how to deal with this. But by shifting blame, they undermine the process so much and almost assure that the situation will continue unabated.